Hogs Win, But Lots of Work to do Before Bama Comes to Town [OPINION]
As expected, the Arkansas Razorbacks opened up the 2012 season with a win Saturday over Jacksonville State. What wasn't expected, was how sloppy that win would be.
There were plenty of positives in the game.
- Tyler Wilson setting a school record for passing yards in a season opener (didn't realize that was a record they kept, but ok). He ended up throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns while connecting on 19 of his 27 throws.
- Tight end Chris Graggs caught 2 touchdown passes and ended up with over 100 yards receiving.
- Knile Davis didn't break the century mark, but he had a solid outing, carrying the ball 18 times for 70 yards (he sat out most of the 2nd half).
- Texarkana's Dennis Johnson had a solid game on special teams, returning four kicks for an average of 24 yards per return.
- Former back-up QB, now WR Brandon Mitchell looked solid hauling in 7 catches for 117 yards.
But, there were quite a few negatives as well.
- Texarkana's Cobi Hamilton left the game in the first half with a neck injury. He's expected to play Saturday against LA Monroe.
- Arkansas fumbled the ball 4 times, losing 3 of those.
- Jacksonville State was able to score 24 points, 14 coming directly off turnovers.
- Arkansas' secondary had several major breakdowns Saturday where players were completely out of position. Jacksonville State ended up averaging over 12 yards per pass play and an average of 4 yards per play.
- It's obvious Arkansas still has depth issues at Linebacker.
- Arkansas' defensive line was pushed around most of the night by a smaller, less talented Jacksonville State offensive line.
Razorback fans have reason to be concerned with the problems that were exposed during Saturdays game. Bama is coming to town in less than two weeks and, unfortunately, lose to Alabama and Arkansas' SEC Championship Game hopes are once again dashed before September is over.
Things I'll be looking for Saturday:
- I really think the defense needs to pitch a shut out, or close to one (less than 10 points).
- Will the Razorbacks limit their mental mistakes? Such as blown coverages or missed assignments in the secondary?
- Can the 4 fumbles be attributed to early season jitters or will this be an ongoing issue?
- I also look for Arkansas to continue to work their young offensive line and backfield Saturday and try to establish the run early. In my opinion, Arkansas' ability to run against Bama will determine the outcome. If the Hogs can't run it against the Tide, it could get ugly.